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France’s liberal traditions won’t be helped by the burkini ban | Will Hutton

21 August, 2016 - 00:05
Western nations need to stop stigmatising Muslims as ‘other’ and champion institutions that speak to everyone

Liberal Europe is fighting for its life. Across our continent, it is suffering reverse after reverse before the onslaught of violent jihadism, which in turn can provoke Islamophobia. In vain do European liberal leaders – politicians, philosophers, civic officials and even some journalists – counsel against stigmatising an entire religion for each successive crazed killing. The wider population is less willing to hear pleas to hold its nerve. Muslims should be confronted and stigmatised. Let there be a clash of civilisations.

I told a close friend I was planning to write about the several French seaside resorts that have banned the burkini, backed by the prime minister, Manuel Valls, and Germany’s proposed partial ban on wearing the burqa in public places. This comes with the gathering strength of mainstream feeling in both countries that they need to affirm their secular values and identity, not least to close down opportunities for the extreme right.

Related: German minister to propose ban on full face veils in wake of attacks

A teacher I know, in a Welsh town, said how shocked she was at the scale of the anti-Islam prejudice she encountered

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‘They want us to be invisible’: how the burkini ban is dividing the Côte d’Azur

20 August, 2016 - 20:41
As the national mood hardens following terror attacks, the seaside resort of Villeneuve-Loubet is divided over the new ‘religious offence’

Late last week, officers Lucenay and Roux of the municipal police were resuming their patrol of the beaches that extend from the vast marina complex at Villeneuve-Loubet along the Côte d’Azur towards Nice. This would normally be a routine duty during peak season, but now they have an extra task: to look out for “burkinis” – swimwear that covers the body and head, preferred by orthodox Muslim women but now banned by the town.

Related: Nice becomes latest French city to impose burkini ban

I don't think this is religious dress; there is nothing in the Qur'an to say you have to wear a burkini

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The fatwa hotline: 'We have heard everything'

20 August, 2016 - 09:30

Can men and women work together? (Yes) Should I fast during Ramadan if I have my period? (No) These are just some of the dilemmas answered by women running a Muslim helpline in Abu Dhabi

Sheikha Naeema lifts her glass to take a sip of water, but the large grey telephone on her desk blinks again, red and insistent. It is only 9am and she has already spoken to 11 callers. The woman on the other end of the line is in distress.

“Peace be upon you, blessings be upon you,” Sheikha Naeema says in a soothing tone. The woman tells her she has given birth twice and that both babies were stillborn. Now she is pregnant again. Her doctor has said the foetus is showing signs of severe complications and will probably die. The woman wants to know if Islam will permit her to have an abortion. After clarifying a few other details, Sheikha Naeema issues a fatwa. “If the foetus is severely ill and will not survive, you may have an abortion,” she tells the woman. “You must take advice from your physician, he will guide you. Religion does not conflict with medicine.”

On the internet, not everything is correct... we teach people about the real Islam

When we communicate with another woman, we understand how she thinks

When a woman confides that her husband is having an affair, she is advised to urge him to have two wives

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Danish Turks withdraw children from 'Gulen-linked' schools

20 August, 2016 - 03:47

Parents urged on social media to ‘Save your children from Fethullah Gulen’s terror organisation’s schools’

Hundreds of Danish Turks have withdrawn their children from schools with alleged links to the US-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen, accused by Ankara of masterminding last month’s attempted coup, it was reported on Friday.

A document circulating on Facebook listed 14 private schools in Denmark as being linked to Gulen and urged parents to “Save your children from Fethullah Gulen’s terror organisation’s schools”, according to a translation from Turkish by broadcaster TV 2.

Related: Fethullah Gülen: who is the man Turkey's president blames for coup attempt?

Related: Turkish court rejects Erdoğan's ban on his enemy's schools

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Nice becomes latest French city to impose burkini ban

19 August, 2016 - 18:04

The French Riviera city was the scene of last month’s truck attack on Bastille Day revellers that left 86 people dead

Nice has become the latest French resort to ban the burkini, the full-body Islamic swimsuit that has sparked heated debate in secular France.

Using language similar to the bans imposed in a string of other resorts on the French Riviera, the city barred clothing that “overtly manifests adherence to a religion at a time when France and places of worship are the target of terrorist attacks”.

Related: Five reasons to wear a burkini – and not just to annoy the French | Remona Aly

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German interior minister backs ban on full face veils in public places

19 August, 2016 - 09:35

De Maizière wants legal requirement to show face in some situations, saying full veil does not belong in Germany

Germany’s interior minister, Thomas de Maizière, has come out in favour of a partial ban on full face veils, amid a fierce national debate on integration.

“We agree that we reject the burqa, we agree that we want to introduce a legal requirement to show one’s face in places where it is necessary for our society’s coexistence – at the wheel, at public offices, at the registry office, in schools and universities, in the civil service, in court,” he said after a meeting with regional counterparts from his conservative party.

Related: German minister to propose ban on full face veils in wake of attacks

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Britain is full of inspirational Muslim women. They’re more crucial than ever | Mariya Hussain

19 August, 2016 - 08:00

In a climate of heightened Islamophobia, these educated, interesting women are pushing at the barriers – and reminding us to be proud of our identity

Type “Muslim women” into Google Images and the most common photographs show a woman wearing a niqab staring out into the distance or straight into the camera. Some may see such images as a reaffirmation of their view that Muslim women are an orientalised “other”; that they are passive, homogeneous, and silent. However, I see a complete erasure of the identity of Muslim women, their work and their roles.

Related: For Muslim women life had been getting better. No longer | Yasmin Alibhai-Brown

Many Muslim women have sacrificed much in order to provide a life of better opportunity for their children

Related: Train passengers stand up against racial abuse of Muslim woman

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Oh, for a burkini in my youth | Letters

18 August, 2016 - 19:12

I’m a pale person and I spent my formative years turning red on the beach and laying the groundwork for an impressive selection of brown blotches and spots that could easily turn nasty at some point. I could have done with a tiny burkini to keep my skin safe from the sun’s burning rays. My teenage years were riven with angst and embarrassment as I sought to hide my imperfections from public gaze. How I would have welcomed a swimsuit that could have shielded my pale, skinny frame from the eyes of the world instead of having to suffer the worst of British design that incorporated armoured bra cups which soared skywards when I lay on my back.

A trip to hotter climes saw me swathed head to foot in towels and sporting an impressive weight of greasy sunblock when I really needed a decent garment that didn’t leave my shoulders and thighs bare. Luckily these clothes are now available in the shape of swim tights and swim shirts so I can go to the beach covered head to foot in clothing that is designed to keep me safe in the sun and that works well as swimwear. If I want to add a swim hat to keep my hair from getting tangled in the water, I can do that … unless I am a Muslim woman (French minister for women’s rights defends burkini ban, 17 August). The burkini isn’t a million miles from some of the clothing sold to surfers or those who wish to stay safe in the sun, but because of the religious overtones, Muslim women are being denied the right to enjoy the beach and go swimming like any other person.

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Anjem Choudary was given platform 'by the media, not Muslims'

17 August, 2016 - 20:15

Government is accused of alienating the very Muslims who have barred extremists such as Choudary from their mosques

Anjem Choudary was “given the oxygen of publicity” by sections of the media and ideologues more interested in culture wars than fighting extremism, even as Muslims threw him out of their mosques, Britain’s biggest Islamic group said on Wednesday.

Choudary’s conviction for urging support for Islamic State has sparked debate and soul searching about how he spread his message inciting terrorism for so long before being charged and convicted of a serious criminal offence.

Related: We’re still playing into the hands of Anjem Choudary | Miqdaad Versi

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We’re still playing into the hands of Anjem Choudary | Miqdaad Versi

17 August, 2016 - 20:13
Britain’s counter-terror strategy has become a culture war, alienating the very people who oppose his extremism

Anjem Choudary was a gift for our media establishment. Here was a man who seemed to have more journalists on speed dial than he had mainstream Muslims. At a Muslim News conference last year Channel 4’s Simon Israel was able to share the latest text message he received from the loudmouth, proffering his outrageous comment of the day.

Related: Anjem Choudary has left a trail of broken families and lost youth | Robb Leech

Related: Anjem Choudary was a leader. His conviction will damage terror networks | Raffaello Pantucci

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French PM supports local bans on burkinis

17 August, 2016 - 15:43

Manuel Valls said Muslim swimwear was based on the enslavement of women but stopped short of suggesting national ban

The French prime minister has expressed support for local bans on burkinis, saying the swimwear is based on the “enslavement of women” and therefore incompatible with French values.

The burkini, a wetsuit-like garment designed for Muslim women, covers the torso, limbs and head.

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New York man charged in 'assassination' of Queens imam and his friend

16 August, 2016 - 23:59

Oscar Morel has charge bumped up to first-degree murder as prosecutors call act premeditated and intentional, while police say hate crime a possible motive

The suspect in the shooting of an imam and his friend was arraigned on Tuesday on charges of first-degree murder, as prosecutors labeled the attack an “assassination”.

“This was a most horrendous and despicable act that can only be described as a cold-blooded premeditated assassination,” assistant district attorney Peter McCormack said.

Related: Hundreds gather to remember Muslim cleric as suspect charged in shooting

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Communist party members may still be barred from US citizenship

16 August, 2016 - 17:57

As Donald Trump calls for ‘extreme vetting’ of Muslim immigrants, he has pointed to old measures to bar communists – which still echo in today’s rules

Membership in the Communist party may still preclude would-be citizens from becoming naturalized in the US.

In his speech on Monday, Donald Trump alluded to cold war tactics used to screen out communists in the 1950s when he proposed his “extreme vetting” of Muslim immigrants using an ideological purity test. But the remnants of those restrictions linger in citizenship requirements today.

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Trump has made it clear exactly who should be barred from the US: himself | Moustafa Bayoumi

16 August, 2016 - 17:36

He said ‘those who do not believe in our constitution, or who support bigotry and hatred’ should be turned back at the border. Remind you of anybody?

In his major policy speech on foreign policy delivered yesterday in the battleground state of Ohio, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump finally made it clear who exactly should be barred from the United States: himself.

The candidate plainly stated that “those who do not believe in our constitution, or who support bigotry and hatred, will not be admitted for immigration into the country”. Since Trump, who is known to have expressed bigoted and hateful opinions about Mexicans and Muslims, and who has repeatedly demonstrated a tenuous grasp of the constitution, already resides in the United States, I assume he will opt for Mitt Romney-style self-deportation.

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Abuse of Muslims is now mainstream. I never thought my children would see this | Salma Yaqoob

16 August, 2016 - 13:50
Nadiya Hussain’s account of prejudice comes as no surprise to those of us who are used to being attacked in the street, in schools and in the press

Nadiya Hussain’s account on Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs of the everyday anti-Muslim prejudice she encounters may have come as a surprise to some people. It won’t shock anyone in the Muslim community.

Related: The Guardian view on anti-Muslim discrimination: a terrible social injustice | Editorial

Related: For Muslim women life had been getting better. No longer | Yasmin Alibhai-Brown

My son asked me if he would be safe if he stopped being a Muslim

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Burkini ban defended as French mayors urged to cool local tensions

16 August, 2016 - 12:43

France’s women’s rights minister supports ban on ‘beach version of burqa’ but says it should not be seen in context of terrorism

The French government has defended municipal bans on body-covering burkini swimwear designed for Muslim women but called on mayors to try to cool tensions between communities.

Three Mediterranean towns – Cannes, Villeneuve-Loubet and Sisco on the island of Corsica – have banned the burkini, and Le Touquet on the Atlantic coast plans to do the same.

Related: Five reasons to wear a burkini – and not just to annoy the French | Remona Aly

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Islamophobia: why Adnan doesn't get a job callback but Aidan does

16 August, 2016 - 04:14

Australian businesses are taking steps to stamp out religious discrimination but the Diversity Council is calling for employers to do more

You can imagine her surprise when the young lawyer was mistakenly copied into an email which revealed she hadn’t got a job because of her parents’ religion.

Well, she might have been surprised, but as a Muslim, such instances of discrimination are hardly uncommon.

Related: Time for men to sign up to female-dominated caring and sharing jobs

Related: Diversity versus cultural fit: 'I hire people who I know will challenge me'

Related: I've studied radicalization – and Islamophobia often plants the seed | Sarah Lyons-Padilla

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Hundreds gather to remember Muslim cleric as suspect charged in shooting

16 August, 2016 - 03:13

New York City police have charged a man from Brooklyn with the murder of imam Maulama Akonjee and his friend outside a mosque in Queens

A suspect was charged on Monday in the fatal shootings of an imam and another Muslim man, as hundreds of mourners gathered in Queens, New York, to remember the victims and call for justice.

Late Monday night, Oscar Morel, 35-year-old Hispanic male from Brooklyn, was charged with two counts of murder and two counts of criminal possession of a weapon, police said. He had already been charged with a hit and run and assaulting an officer.

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