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ACT! For America’s Empty Promises

Loon Watch - 12 August, 2016 - 19:33

ACT_For_America

By Emperor

The 2016 presidential election season has been punctuated by the implosion of the Republican party, decimated by the long nurtured hatred and xenophobia that it has thrived upon for decades. The Republican elite have for some time either looked the other way or actively pandered to and supported bigoted organizations, hoping to reap electoral dividends.

One such cog in the Conservative movement’s wheels has been ACT! For America. ACT! For America is one of a plethora of Islamophobic hate groups whose shady practices and links have been exposed repeatedly over the years. ACT! is led by Brigitte Gabriel and has received hundreds of thousands of dollars from leading donors of the Conservative movement.

In July 2014, we reported Brigitte Gabriel’s announcement that ACT! For America was launching university campus chapters. ACT!’s purported goal in establishing these university chapters was to counter Muslim Student Associations (MSA), which, in line with the conspiratorial messaging of Islamophobes was a supposed “Muslim Brotherhood” front. ACT! claims that their “goal is for Students Who ACT to be recognized as an official student group on at least 100 campuses by the end of 2016!”

Students Who ACT claims the following platform.:

“As the only group on college campuses focused on promoting national security and defeating terrorism, “Students Who ACT”:

  • Lead the way in encouraging student participation in the defense of American values and liberties in their communities and on the state and federal level;
  • Further their peers’ education of ACT for America’s core issues including raising awareness of global Christian persecution;
  • Combat extreme bias and intimidation by encouraging students to respond and exercise their Constitutional right to free speech;
  • Promote patriotism among fellow students.

Students help raise awareness through group activities such as holding educational events, staying active on campus with like-minded groups, attending the ACT for America National Conference, participating in social media campaigns, and working with the local ACT for America chapters.” (ACT! For America Students)

It’s been two years, so how far along is Brigitte Gabriel and ACT! For America in achieving the establishment of “100 chapters” on University campuses?

By using the good ole’ google maps list, ACT!’s official “Find a Chapter” map, and Facebook we see that only four universities supposedly should have an ACT! For America student group on campus. These are Murray State University, Liberty University, Tulane University, and Oklahoma State University- Stillwater.

However, looking at the most up-to-date list of student organizations at all four universities, neither ACT! For America nor Students Who Act are listed as student organizations at these universities. The student life coordinator at Oklahoma State University-Stillwater, and Evan Frejo confirmed that they do not have a student organization related to ACT! For America on the list of student organizations.

Therefore, it’s apparent that ACT For America does not actually have a single official student organization at any American university. Indeed, the goal of 100 chapters by the end of this year is not only unattainable but in the past two years they have opened a grand total of zero chapters! Money well spent for an Islamophobia machine that is funded to the tune of over $200 million dollars!

'It's a beautiful thing': Ahmadi Muslims find strength at UK gathering

The Guardian World news: Islam - 12 August, 2016 - 19:15

Driven from Pakistan and now reeling from murder of Asad Shah in Glasgow, Ahmadis seek ‘spiritual uplift’ at Jalsa Salana

By mid-morning, Agha Abdul Karim Abed had already baked 56,000 roti. He had been at work in an outhouse on a Hampshire farm since 5.30am, and his target was 150,000 circles of the flat bread before the day was out.

Giant mixers combined flour, water, salt, sugar and yeast into a dough that was rested before being fed into a machine. At the end of a long conveyor belt, two men and a boy piled up the roti for bagging and transporting to enormous meal tents.

Related: Shunned for saying they're Muslims: life for Ahmadis after Asad Shah's murder

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

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Human rights groups vow to challenge burqini ban on Cannes beaches

The Guardian World news: Islam - 12 August, 2016 - 17:19

Muslim organisations also among those to decry ruling signed off by mayor David Lisnard outlawing full-body swimsuits

A French human rights association and Muslim groups have said they will take legal action against the mayor of Cannes for issuing a decree banning burqinis from the resort’s beaches.

David Lisnard signed off on a ruling last month preventing women from wearing the full-body swimsuits in the Côte d’Azur town. The decree was introduced shortly after the Bastille day attack in Nice in July, where a delivery driver killed 85 people when he ploughed into crowds celebrating the French national holiday on the seafront.

Related: France's headscarf war: 'It's an attack on freedom'

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Mayor of Cannes bans burqinis on resort's beaches

The Guardian World news: Islam - 11 August, 2016 - 22:15

David Lisnard rules that bathing apparel must respect ‘good customs and secularism’

The mayor of Cannes has banned the wearing of burqinis on the beaches of the French Riviera resort famous for its annual film festival.

Mayor David Lisnard signed off on the ruling that “access to beaches and for swimming is banned to anyone who does not have [bathing apparel] which respects good customs and secularism,” which is a founding principle of the French republic.

Related: French mayor attacks plans for 'burkini' pool party

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

The Guardian World news: Islam - 11 August, 2016 - 19:46
The new report on joblessness shows the role played by discrimination – but attitudes within our community must change too

Muslim women are the most economically disadvantaged group in Britain. They are three times more likely than other women to be unemployed or looking for work, and twice as likely to be economically inactive (ie, not looking for work). Those who have the same educational qualifications and skills as white Christian women are 71% more likely to be jobless.

Related: Cameron 'stigmatising Muslim women' with English language policy

Women who sound 'British' and believe they are, turn up at interviews where visceral hostility comes at them

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My Hijab Doesn’t Define Me

altmuslim - 11 August, 2016 - 19:02
By Hadeer Hijabi. The word stumbles about my tongue in an ungainly fashion instead of rolling off gracefully. When it escapes my mouth, it falls flat. I realize then that I hate it. This word confines me within a box, reducing who I am as a human being to a dress code I chose many [Read More...]

UK confusion between integration and counter-terrorism hinders Muslims

The Guardian World news: Islam - 11 August, 2016 - 00:01

Muslim women in particular are discriminated against inside and outside their communities and this needs to be addressed, says Commons report

The government’s conflation of integration with counter-terrorism has exacerbated inequalities experienced by British Muslims, MPs have said.

Related: Sadiq Khan’s victory won’t end Islamophobia, but it offers hope | Homa Khaleeli

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

The Guardian World news: Islam - 10 August, 2016 - 17:51

Burqa and niqab to be proscribed as part of plan to boost surveillance, raise police numbers and tighten dual nationality rules

Germany’s interior minister will propose a number of security measures, including a ban on the full face veil for women, in reaction to growing concerns about violent attacks in the country.

According to German media, the measures, which the interior ministry will try to turn into law before national elections in 2017, include boosting police numbers and video surveillance at railway stations and airports, making it easier for doctors to break confidentiality agreements if their patients are planning criminal acts, and tightening rules around obtaining dual nationality.

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Schools should provide books, not require iPads

Indigo Jo Blogs - 9 August, 2016 - 22:26

A young white boy wearing a bright red school jumper with a school emblem consisting of a cross inside a diamond with the letters S, A, S and M around the cross. He is holding an iPad and a young child wearing a light grey and white baby suit is sitting looking at it.Back to school bill: pencil case, pens, rubber … and a £785 iPad (from today’s Guardian)

This is about how state schools (private schools have been doing this for a while) have started asking parents to send children into school equipped with an iPad “as a result of a lack of proper government funding for technology equipment”. The schools involved justify the policy by saying such things as “embedding technology in the classroom, alongside traditional learning, has been shown to enhance learning”, which is a dubious claim when applied to iPads, but the devices are being sold for up to £785 in installments when basic iPads are available from £219 from Apple. There are a whole host of reasons why pressuring parents to pay for this device is a bad idea.

First, they are expensive and easy to break. School textbooks may be bulky, but a torn page can just be taped back together and a book dropped in a puddle can be dried out; a broken screen has to be repaired professionally, if it even can be, and a phone or tablet immersed in water could be rendered useless. There are so many ways such devices can get broken in a school — if a child holding one trips and falls, or if someone knocks it out of someone’s hands by accident or as a prank, or if someone who is angry throws it at someone, for example — that are less of a problem in a home or office. They are easy to steal, and children walking to or from school alone would be an easy target.

Second, they are unnecessary. Generations of children learned without each having a tablet or computer to themselves; we learned from books or from the teacher, and sometimes from a presentation on an overhead projector (they got more sophisticated; more recently they are linked to computers rather then relying on slides) or from a TV programme. In fact, computers can be a distraction, even in a computer science class, as I found when I went back to college (unsuccessfully) in 2003; people could, and did, do things on them during the class that had nothing to do with the class, or any other class, like watching videos like this:

Third, as they are expensive, they produce a divide between those who can afford them (and afford high-end, expensive ones) and those who can’t. Kids will always notice who’s borrowing an iPad from the teacher or from someone else, much as they notice who is on free school meals unless the school manages to hide it (they don’t always), and in an affluent area this could lead to the child whose parents are unable to provide the devices being stigmatised or even bullied. Less well-off parents will consider this expense when choosing a secondary school (if there’s a choice), making this a means of subtly discriminating against their children. Schools often justify uniforms on the basis that they mask social divisions, so making learning dependent on expensive tablets supplied by parents rather defeats the object.

(Private schools have been doing this for some time, as noted in a BBC Four programme about a girl who won a scholarship to the local private grammar school in Leeds and found that the school required pupils to have their own tablets, which she had to borrow from another girl. Because this and other factors made her feel “like an outsider”, she left after just one year, despite the debts her mother had ran up to get her in.)

In the particular case of iPads, their educational value is compromised because they do not allow you to program them, making them only useful for receiving information and using existing services such as email and social media. A recent criticism of school IT lessons is that they teach how to use popular applications like Microsoft Word but do not touch on programming, but all programming of tablets is done through PCs (Macs, in the case of iPads). In addition, programs have to be supplied through the App Store (except on jailbroken devices) and this adds expense and difficulty for the developers (and thus the user); for Android devices, it is fairly simple to allow the installation of non-Store programs; it requires no change at all on most PCs. So these devices are either to be used for browsing electronic textbooks or for some custom educational software that delivers information that could just as easily be projected onto a single screen, except for those with visual impairments. The devices could easily be used to give demonstrations of things (particularly in science) that avoid doing them in practice, making lessons ‘safer’ and more sedentary but less hands-on and, frankly, less interesting.

However much the schools (and the schemes they participate in) sweeten the pill with instalment paying and hardship schemes, this potentially puts the onus on parents to provide the delivery method for both books and lessons. It’s a money spinner for the developers of the software, who will sell site licences to schools to allow pupils to use them on their devices. And it raises the cost of state school education for parents by hundreds of pounds per year, which of course is multiplied by the number of children they have. It assumes, of course, that parents will buy these devices anyway, but not all parents have the money to buy even one, let alone more, and let alone allow their children to take them to school. It’s unnecessary, it’s of limited educational benefit, it’s expensive, it’s discriminatory. It should be banned in all state schools.

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Muslim flight attendant sues ExpressJet for insisting she serve alcohol

The Guardian World news: Islam - 9 August, 2016 - 20:26

Charee Stanley alleges she was wrongly suspended by the airline for requesting she not have to serve alcohol to passengers in compliance with her religion

A Muslim flight attendant who made headlines last year has sued her employer, ExpressJet, alleging that she was wrongly suspended by the airline for requesting she not have to serve alcohol to passengers.

The Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (Cair-MI) filed the lawsuit in Michigan’s eastern district court last week on behalf of Charee Stanley.

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